Her junior year isn't fully underway yet Ali Andrews is already getting a taste of the hectic basketball recruiting process that will only become more involved as the year progresses.
Huntley's 6-foot-2 forward has her sights set on earning a Division I basketball scholarship, and Andrews has been drawing plenty of interest. Wanting to showcase her skills against other top talent, Andrews has already attended college camps at Michigan, Indiana, DePaul and Illinois this summer.
"It's been busy," Andrews said Wednesday. "July is a really big month for me. Just play well, and I'll see what goes on from there."
Andrews spent last week at Illinois, participating in both the individual skills camp and then the weekend team camp with the Red Raiders. Individual camps typically pit top prospects against each other in scrimmages and also affords one-on-one work with a school's coaches.
"I really get a feel for the school, the coaches and the players," Andrews said of the camps. "I see if I'd fit in there. It's kind of like a visit to see if I'd like to go there. Plus, it's really good competition."
College coaches aren't allowed to have direct contact with high school juniors, like Andrews, until Sept. 1. But Andrews, the 2014 Northwest Herald Girls Basketball Player of the Year, has been in contact with some coaches. She is allowed to communicate with coaches who reach out to her through her coaches or ones she contacts on her own.
Right now, Andrews said she is really interested in Illinois and Michigan. Illinois appeals to Andrews because of her connection to the coaching staff and the players on the team, who she described as inviting and welcoming, while Michigan's staff and the overall atmosphere are pluses. At this point, Andrews estimated 10 to 15 schools – all D-I – have reached out to her and shown interest.
Andrews, who plays for the AAU team Midwest Elite, has an important summer ahead. She will be playing in some key tournaments, including a tournament in Ames, Iowa this weekend as well as the Nike National Invitational, which is held in Chicago, July 9-13 at McCormick Place.
Every tournament represents an opportunity for Andrews to prove herself against some of the top players and teams in the country.
"I'm going to be traveling around to really big tournaments," Andrews said. "We're going to a ton of Nike tournaments. They're really big because all the (college) coaches come to them so basically you just have to play well and showcase what you have and go from there."
However, Andrews isn't in any hurry to commit to a school and said she definitely doesn't want to rush into a decision. Andrews expects to pick a school by the end of next summer before the start of her senior year.
"I just want to go through the process and see what I like," Andrews said. "I don't want to rush into anything."